Sivananda Vidya Peetham

Ashram rules and guidelines

The Ashram welcomes seekers of spirituality, peace and happiness from all over the world irrespective of caste, creed, sex, religion or nationality. Our daily schedule and programs are based on H.H. Swami Sivananda’s principle of the ‘Synthesis of Yoga’ and the practice of Yogic rites and rituals. The spirit behind the discipline and rules are purely to enable you to obtain maximum benefit from your ashram experience and spiritual practice. To maintain the spiritual purpose of the ashram, all guests are required to follow the entire ashram daily schedule. In the event that you need to be absent from any event or to leave the ashram premises, permission should be obtained from the Ashram Director.

Yogic way of Life

Yoga is a way of life rather than a religion. It is based on dharma or righteous living. It is free from religious fanaticism and allows freedom in matters of faith and worship. In Indian culture one is free to worship the form that is most appealing to the individual without being disrespectful to other forms of worship. Yoga does not propagate conversion to or from other religions, for it holds that all religions are valid ways of worshipping the same divine principle.

In ancient India, the tradition was for students to live, work and study with their teacher (gurukula system of education). An ashram provides a spiritual retreat to live and study under the guidance of a teacher. It provides a conducive environment for personal development and the pursuit of spiritual ideals.

Seva – Selfless service

Seva is an integral part of the daily schedule and provides an opportunity for guests to participate in the upkeep of the ashram. Guests are required to offer up to one hour of Seva per day, this helps in bringing purity in the ashram atmosphere.

Minimum Stay

All guests are accepted onto the YTTC-1, YTTC-2, HYI courses only if they stay for the entire duration of the course. In case one cannot follow this rule for YSC, please get permission from the director before the date of commencement of the course, showing the genuine reason.

Check in/out

All guests and visitors are required to register at reception upon arrival. Check-in time is after 2pm and check-out is before 11am. Upon check out, please return keys & bedding to the reception and settle any outstanding bills.

Payments and Donations

Daily donation rates include accommodation, all classes and two meals per day. Dates and donations are subject to change without notice. For all programs guests are subject to the suggested donation in effect at the time of final payment.

The Indian concessional rate is not applicable for non-resident Indians (NRI), Indian nationals working or living abroad, foreign nationals working or living in India. You may be asked to provide evidence of your Indian nationality. Misrepresentation of information will result in liability to pay the full fee or dismissal from the course.

Refunds & Credit Notes

Refunds will not be given under any circumstances; however, a credit note may be issued. Credit notes are valid for one year from date of issue; they may be used for other courses or programs offered by SYVP. Credit notes can be used to purchase boutique items.

Passports & Visas

Foreign students/guests must bring their original passport with a valid visa for India to cover the duration of their stay. Indian nationals need to show a valid ID proof at the time of joining.

Day Off

Guests may leave the ashram on the weekly day off. Students are required to attend morning and evening satsangs and to complete their Seva duties on this day with the rest of the day free for their personal study and activities.

Intoxicants & Prohibited items

Smoking, alcohol, drugs, meat, fish, eggs, garlic and onions are not allowed. Pets are not allowed. Photography, video, and audio recording is only permitted during classes and ceremonies with the permission of the Ashram Director.

Books

All books are symbolically associated with Saraswasti – the goddess of learning and creativity. It is considered disrespectful to place the feet or sit on books.

Dress Code

Guests behaviour and dress code should be respectful of Indian culture and enhance the spiritual atmosphere of the ashram. Observance of the ashram dress code should be maintained at all times including during asana classes. Nudity is forbidden. Men and women should cover the shoulders, midriff and legs. Tight fitting, transparent and revealing clothing are not permitted in the ashram.

Personal Belongings

The ashram cannot accept responsibility for guest’s personal belongings. A safety deposit facility is available.

Satsang & Classes

Satsang is a Sanskrit word meaning gathering or coming together of seekers of truth. Usually held morning and evening, Satsang consists of approximately half an hour of silent meditation, half an hour of chanting and a talk or reading on some aspect of yoga philosophy.
Classes are open to resident guests only. Attendance at all satsangs and classes is required during your stay. As a mark of respect for the teacher and as a practice of self discipline, guests are required to be on time and to remain for the duration of each program.

Silence (Mouna)

Guests are requested to observe silence during meals and between 10.00 pm and 7.00am daily. Lights out after 9.30pm daily.Guests are requested to observe silence during meals and between 10.00 pm and 7.00am daily. Lights out after 9.30pm daily.

Prayers

Prayers help to promote a feeling of humility and devotion. Prayers are usually in Sanskrit (Mantras) and chanted at the beginning and end of each class or ceremony. We invoke the blessings of Ganesa, to remove obstacles, Subrahmanya for protection and Saraswati for knowledge. Finally we salute our teachers (gurus).

Temple Guidelines

Temples are places of worship and meditation. The sanctity of the temples should be maintained at all times. One should bathe and wear clean, modest clothing before entering the temple area, at least one’s hands, feet and face should be washed. Silence should be maintained as much as possible, avoiding unnecessary talk. Ladies should not visit the temple or participate in rituals during their monthly period, as they are undergoing their own purification at this time.

Puja

Puja is one of the modes of Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotion). Puja is the act of showing reverence to a god, a spirit, or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals. An essential part of puja is for the devotee to make a spiritual connection with the divine. Most often that contact is facilitated through an object: such as a statue, a picture, an element of nature or other objects.

Homa / Havan

Homa, or Havan is a fire ceremony, where auspicious items are offered to the divine via the fire. A Homa purifies the atmosphere and those in the vicinity.

Arati

Every satsang and puja ends with a ceremony know as ‘arati’. A flame, symbolising the light of knowledge, is waved before images of the deities and teachers while mantras are chanted. Traditionally, camphor is burned, as it does not leave any residue. Likewise the ego vanishes without a trace when incinerated by the dawning of knowledge. As the light is waved, those present pass their hands over or towards the flame and then raise their palms to their forehead as a form of blessing. At the end of the ceremony, blessed food known as ‘Prasad’ is offered to all.

Shoes/Feet

Shoes, and to a lesser degree, feet, have unclean associations. Shoes are not allowed in any of the ashram buildings, especially in places of worship and dining. Shoes should be left neatly in the spaces provided. Avoid pointing your feet at the altar or teacher as this is considered disrespectful.

Hands

In India, as the left hand is generally used for personal hygiene, one should avoid using the left hand when interacting with others. Generally in Indian ashrams, meals are served in the traditional manner by sitting on the floor and eating with the right hand. It is considered rude to offer anything or serve food etc. with the left hand. Eat, give and receive (especially food and prasad) with your right hand.

Male/Female Relations

To respect the local culture and the monastic tradition, kindly restrain expressions of affection such as hugging or kissing in public. Guests are advised to observe celibacy (brahmacharya) as part of the spiritual discipline. Male and female dormitories are separate. Men are not allowed in the ladies’ dormitory and vice versa.

Please note :

The spirit behind the discipline and rules are to ensure that the ashram life discipline is maintained, enabling you to obtain maximum benefit from your spiritual practice.

You are advised to become familiar with cultural information before coming to the ashram.

Guests are reminded that ashram staff are mostly volunteers with varying experience who offer service as part of their spiritual discipline. Your understanding and patience is appreciated.

We are happy to have the opportunity to serve and wish you a peaceful and rewarding stay.